On November 26, after four months of negotiations, workers at industrial air conditioning manufacturer Buffalo Trident walked off the job indefinitely.
The workers are fighting to have income protection and wage increases of 4% in the first year and 5% in the second year included in their enterprise bargaining agreement. Management at Buffalo Trident is ferociously anti-union. Evidence of this is that there have been no new union members at the plant since the introduction of Work Choices.
The site that once had 100% union coverage now has only 34 out 75 workers signed up under an Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) collective agreement.
AMWU workplace delegate Paul Galcano told Green Left Weekly: "This is not a bad place to work if you can look after yourself and have union protection. All the unionists have been here for 10 years or more.
"The trouble is with the boss. He follows people into the toilet to make sure they're not using their mobile phones. He got people to come in on their day off without pay to do the gardens and paint the factory."
Galcano said the boss complains that the Vietnamese workers drink hot water, which "robs the company of time because it takes longer to drink".